Do I have to go to the lawyer’s office to get help with SSDI?
Do I Need to Meet with an Attorney in Person about my SSDI Disability Claim?
Author: Attorney Lloyd Bemis
In March 2020, the Social Security Administration closed all of it office to the public for in-person meetings because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because the SSA’s offices were closed for a while, applicants and their attorneys and representatives adapted to new filing and hearing procedures making remote filing more accessible.
After a long wait, the SSA lifted its COVID-19 restrictions and posted this update in April 2022: “Social Security Administration to Resume In-Person Services at Local Social Security Offices. I am pleased to announce that local Social Security offices will restore in-person services, including for people without an appointment, on April 7, 2022.”
Even without pandemic restrictions, people with disabilities face unique problems.
An injury or illness may have resulted in mobility issues or left their immune system compromised. They may not be able to travel far from their home or may be worried about health and safety precautions. Because of the inconvenience of travel and challenges of health issues, a person with a disability may avoid legal counsel. If they live a distance from an attorney’s office, they may not have the means to get to an appointment, or they may simply feel uncomfortable meeting with an attorney at their office.
Now there is no need to be discouraged about filing a claim for Social Security Disability Income if you are disabled and unable to work; you have a number of options to file your claim, including meeting an SSA representative in person if you so choose.
Filing a claim for SSDI can still be done online or over the phone, and hearings can be held over the phone or through video conferencing. If you are interested in obtaining legal assistance, you do not need to meet with an attorney in person. Attorneys can allow their clients to avoid the inconvenience of travel and keep clients safe by handling any stage of the Social Security claim process through telephone conferences, email, text, and video conferencing.
If you have been denied disability don’t give up! Most are initially denied. Just call 512-454-4000 for a free, no obligation consultation to learn your options and have your questions patiently answered.
At Bemis, Roach and Reed we take our clients’ health and safety very seriously and can walk you through filing your initial application or appeal without the need to meet with you in person.
Every facet of your case can be handled without meeting in person. Your initial claim can be filed electronically. Evidence and medical records can be requested and gathered through a phone call or email. Filing an appeal and requests for hearings are also performed electronically and an attorney can prepare you for a hearing over the phone.
Hearings before an Administrative Law Judge are perhaps the most intimidating aspect of an SSDI case.
The Social Security Administration recognizes concerns claimants may have about attending in-person hearings and offers two other options for hearings: via telephone or online video conferencing. During a phone conference, Social Security will call you and other participants, including the ALJ, the hearing reporter, and your attorney if you have one. The phone call may also include a vocational expert, a medical expert, and an interpreter. The ALJ will swear in participants, deliver the oath, listen to testimony and ask questions if necessary. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions.
Hearings via online video conferencing are conducted in a similar manner to telephone hearings; the main difference is that you will be able to see the ALJ, your attorney, and other participants.
You can attend from any private location that has a secure Internet connection using a camera-enabled phone, tablet or computer.
Hearings via phone and video conferencing both have advantages and disadvantages.
You do not have to travel or worry about mobility issues or finding a parking space. There is no waiting in uncomfortable offices. Also, many people with disabilities do not have access to the Internet and would not be able to appear at a video conference. If you would like to have your hearing in-person, you need to indicate that you are not interested in any other hearing options being offered. Social Security is required to provide you at least 75 days’ notice if you are scheduled to have an in-person hearing and will send you written notification of your scheduled hearing and where it will be located. For some claimants with severe financial need, a hearing by phone is the wisest choice.
If you need help filing an initial claim, or if you have received a denial from Social Security and want to file an appeal, Bemis, Roach and Reed is ready to provide guidance and assistance.
We are happy to meet with you in person if you like, but it is not necessary to visit with us at our office; your case can be easily handled over the phone and via email. We can be reached through our website, by email, or simply calling us. Our intake specialists will take basic information about your case to help determine your eligibility and will answer any questions you may have.
At The Texas Disability law firm Bemis Roach & Reed, our attorneys are committed to helping injured or disabled clients receive the benefits they deserve. Mr. Roach is AV Preeminent and SuperLawyers rated and has become a recognized leader in the field of Long Term Disability law. Mr Bemis focuses his practice on Social Security disability while Mr Reed handles both LTD and SSDI claims. Both are AV Preeminent and SuperLawyers rated and all our attorneys have been successfully helping people fight for their rights against big insurance companies and the government since 1993. If you have applied for benefits and been denied call 512-454-4000 for a free consultation and get help NOW.
Author: Attorney Lloyd Bemis has been practicing law for over 35 years. He is Superlawyers rated by Thomson Reuters and is Top AV Preeminent® and Client Champion Gold rated by Martindale Hubbell. Through his extensive litigation Mr. Bemis obtained dual board certifications from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Lloyd is admitted to practice in the United States District Court – all Texas Districts and has argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. Mr. Bemis is a member of the Travis County Bar Association. He has been active in the American Association for Justice and is a past Director of the Capital Area Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Bemis and all the members of Bemis, Roach & Reed have been active participants in the Travis County Lawyer referral service.
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